An electrical fire at the Texas State Fair on Friday destroyed the Dallas landmark Big Tex, a 52-foot tall statue of a Texan that had been a staple at the fair for over 60 years. While it’s understandable that plenty of Texans are upset about the loss of Big Tex, it’s a bit less understandable to compare its destruction to September 11.
News that Big Tex had gone up in flames began spreading like wildfire across Twitter, memorials to Big Tex became common. Unfortunately, many Twitter users expressed their sadness in the worst possible way: a direct comparison to the terrorist attacks of September 11.
“Big Tex burning is like 9/11 for Dallas” has appeared verbatim in dozens of tweets since the Texas landmark was destroyed. Several variations on the phrase also appeared, including “Big Tex burning down is worse that 9/11
#everythingissadderintexas” and “Big tex burning down is the worst thing that has happened since 9/11 #texastradgedy.”
“Today is the 9/11 of Texas. A national icon burned down. But will be rebuild bigger & stronger. Big Tex will raise from the ashes
#bigjesus,” tweeted a University of Texas at Arlington student named Eric.
However, as popular as the 9/11 comparisons became, just as many Twitter users were chastising their fellow Texans for making the comparison. “Stop comparing Big Tex burning down to 9/11 even if you're joking. Thousands of lives lost doesn't exactly compare to Big Tex burning down” wrote user Hannah Smith.
The Texas Observer also stepped into the fray, telling Big Tex mourners that maybe they were blowing things just a little out of proportion with the tweet “OK, Big Tex fans, comparing it to 9/11 is taking it a tad too far:”
Next time a giant statue burns down, try to remember that while it’s certainly sad, the loss of a 50-foot-tall fake man isn’t exactly comparable to the deliberate killings of over 3,000 real, live human beings.
It may be tempting to make that comparison to express your sadness, but at least for this writer, please refrain.